Oil Palm continues progress

The Oil Palm industry since its inception in the country in the 1960’s has grown from strength to strength.

This has expanded from West New Britain to New Ireland, Oro and Milne Bay provinces and now extends into Madang, Morobe, West Sepik, East Sepik and East New Britain.

The Farmers and Settlers Association in a circular stated that in a recent statistics for  oil palm since the enactment of the Oil Palm Industry Corporation Act, 1992 has shown a steady increase in production and exports of crude palm oil.

FSA president, Wilson Thompson, commended the Oil Palm Industry Corporation (OPIC) for the extension and training services including infrastructure (roads and bridges) in oil palm growing districts and applaud the OPIC that has statistics for production per province that is something missing from other commodity boards.

He praised  companies such as Hargy Plantations and New Britain Palm Oil that are engaged in the plantations and buying and processing.

“We also note value adding in oil palm by processing kennels for the cattle industry,  cooking oil and starch for food processing industry and this will assist the government import substitution policy,” Thompson stated.

Fresh Fruit Bunch that is produced by smallholders continues to increase from 2019,2020 to 2021 is 769,831 metric tonnes and in 2022 increased to 819,356 tonnes. Income for farmers grew from K405 million in 2020, to K760 million in 2021 and increased to almost a billion (K964 million ) in 2022.

The smallholder farmers in WNBP, Oro, New Ireland and Milne Bay is supported by the estates and buyers that processes into Crude Palm Oil for exports.

Crude Palm Oil increased in volume in 558 metric tonnes in 2020, 649 metric tonnes in 2021 that increased to 678 metric tonnes  that generated K1.3 billion in 2020, K2.7 billion in 2021 and K2.8 billion in 2022 rounding the year on the increase across the whole agriculture sector.

The Association commends all stakeholders in the oil palm industry and notes that the oil palm has moved from the traditional oil palm provinces to East and West Sepik , ENBP, Morobe and Madang that needs to be addressed in totality.

Meantime, Thompson is concerned that there is insufficient marketplace for smallholders to sell their fresh fruit bunch as there are no mills; and further the Oil Palm Industry Corporation Act or OPIC Act, 1992 needs to be reviewed as it was a legislation that was established to cater for training and  extension services for smallholders that supplied the estates in the oil palm growing provinces.

“The Oil Palm industry has been targeted by international groups and we must be careful in PNG to protect and promote our industry which is now supporting cattle, food processing and also cooking oil for our people,” said Thompson.

He stated that the crop has gone to the smallholders and OPIC must also address smallholder concerns that is affecting other commodity crops such as shortage of seeds and seedlings and incursion of pests and diseases.

The FSA supports the oil palm industry for creating thousands of employment directly and also in the associated industries and also in other sectors of the economy. 

“Apart from oil palm, we support the NBPOL for maintaining the cattle industry and for providing beef to the country.  And this is one area where the government can support via feedlot using oil palm kennel and molasses from sugar to address import substitution for beef imports.”

Loop Author